By David Madden

CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — A Pennsylvania House committee charged with overseeing casino gambling within the commonwealth held a pair of hearings in our region, looking into ways to keep the industry more competitive.

Casino executives from Harrah’s and Sugarhouse provided input to committee members on everything from regional competition to Internet gambling (which is not legal in Pennsylvania, but it is in New Jersey and Delaware).

“Internet gaming is here to stay, whether it’s a regulated product or whether it’s an illegal product,” noted Jan Jones Blackhurst (below), an executive vice president with Caesar’s Entertainment, in Las Vegas.  “The Internet is not going away.”

( Jan Jones Blackhurst, of Caesar's Entertainment, testifies.  Photo by David Madden)

( Jan Jones Blackhurst, of Caesar’s Entertainment, testifies. Photo by David Madden)

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The challenge, she said, is to regulate it properly, which she believes is being done by states that are now involved in online gambling ventures.

And providing an online venue does not, in her mind, stop people from going to casinos.  In fact, she thinks, it helps promote them.

She is worried, however, about a federal effort that could, if successful, usurp state control over online gambling.